Do Not Waste Christ the Lord’s Gifts to Us

We learn two important things about Jesus from the episode of the multiplication of the loaves.

First, we see the kindness and generosity of Jesus towards the needs of the crowds. He is not overwhelmed by their number and their needs. He also does not wait for them to beg Him, but He takes the initiative to feed them, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat? He said this to test him because He Himself knew what He was going to do.”

Secondly, Jesus is not wasteful. After they had had their fill of the bread and fish, He said to His disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

This means that, because of His kindness and generosity, we must receive His gifts with gratitude and hope in His loving providence in the future. We must also be diligent with His gifts, making sure that we do not abuse or waste them but use them well now, not for our selfish purposes, but for the very intention that He intends in giving us these gifts.

The crowd that experienced His generosity were wasteful in the sense that they failed to respond to this gift as Christ intended. They wanted to make him a bread king by force, someone that would satisfy their material and physical needs. Consequently, He abandoned their presence when they tried to make Him king, “Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry Him off to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain alone.”(Jn 6:5-6,12,15) Their wastefulness wounded their union with Christ.  

Jesus did not feed them so that they could make Him king. He is king already by His very nature as the Son of God, “He was in the beginning with God, all things were made through Him, and without Him was anything made that was made.”(Jn 1:2-3) We can neither make Him king nor take away His kingship. Remember that the first person who offered to make him king by offering Him all the world was the devil and we all know how that ended, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’”(Mt 4:10)

Strictly speaking, we cannot make Christ king and He definitely does not need us to make Him king. We are simply to respond to His gifts by our humble submission to Him as sovereign Lord and then help others to submit to Him too. This is God’s intention behind all His gifts to us: we are to use them all in God’s eternal plan to “unite all things in Him (Christ), things in heaven and things on earth.”(Eph 1:10) We are wasting His gifts when we are not striving to use them in gathering all under the Lordship and Kingship of Christ.

St. Paul reminds us that our lives should give witness that we are indeed using the gift of our election as God intends, “Live in a manner worthy of your calling you have received.” We are to strive to bring ourselves and all things to complete submission to Christ. We do this by using His gifts to live with “all humility and gentleness,” practice a patient love that “bears with one another through love,” and strive to preserve unity and peace. This is impossible without a sense of the hope that comes from Christ as the one Lord of all and a willingness to bring all things under His dominion, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:1-6)

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, without this sense of Christ as the king and supreme Lord of all, we will surely become hopeless slaves of His gifts. Instead of helping us to unite all things and persons under Him, His gifts will leave us afraid of losing what we already have. We will become restless and frustrated as we strive to acquire and preserve more of these gifts. This eventually leads to the many addictions of our times and the rivalry and cheating that destroys families, communities, and the Church.

Imagine for a moment what our families, communities, and Church would look like if we all used the gifts that God has given to us to actually “live in a manner worthy of our calling.” Can’t we see behind every scandal in the Church and every counter-witness to Christ in our families and communities a culpable ignorance and rejection of the divine purpose in giving us gifts? The human body that is meant to be “offered as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, our spiritual worship,”(Rom 12:1) is now used for sexual pleasures and endlessly modified in a futile attempt to change our genders. The Catholic priesthood through which Christ perpetuates His sacrifice on Calvary and unites souls to Himself has now become a beehive for homosexual activity, grooming, and predation. Marriage that is meant to bring new life into the world and prepare them for fruitful union with Christ has now become an institution where we choose and pick which infant should live and which should die through abortion and contraception. We are indeed receiving gifts from God’s generous kindness and wasting them in self-indulgent living that separates souls from Christ instead of bringing them to Him. Ultimately, we are seriously damaging our union with Christ.

Jesus Christ remains forever generous and kind; but never wasteful. The climax of His generosity and kindness to us is in His greatest gift to us of Himself in the Eucharist, where He also enlightens us on His true intents in bestowing these graces on us. Indeed, our Eucharistic Lord always takes the first step in providing the graces we need so badly and light to know His will in giving us these gifts.

Let us always approach each Eucharist with gratitude and hope, trusting that He will give us all that we need even before we can beg Him. Sometimes all He asks of us is to simply sit still in His presence and allow Him to provide for us gifts that we could never imagine or expect. But it is not enough for us to be grateful and hopeful for these graces; we must also be diligent in using them as He intends. We will surely give an account of every single grace we have received.

Let us also beg Mary, Our Lady of divine grace, to help us so that we do not “receive His graces in vain.”(2Cor 6:1) She will surely help us to receive His gifts and listen attentively to His intentions too just as she did so that we can make generous use of these graces as He intends i.e., to bring all things and persons – beginning with our own selves and all that we are and have – under the one Lordship of Christ, our King and Lord. This is how we can use His gracious gifts to maintain and deepen our union with Jesus Christ.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

image: fresco of Feeding the multitude by Raffaellino del Garbo / Sailko, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By

Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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